Technology Advice by Ryan Taylor Adams

Prevent Vista From Stealing Program Focus

October 12th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Printer Friendly Version


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I see that visitors to my site search for this topic frequently, so I figured I should make a post about it. Let me start by saying, I will not be telling you how to change your Windows Vista registry to prevent programs from stealing focus. Why? Because you don’t need to. By default, Windows Vista (unlike some past Windows versions) already prevents applications from stealing focus. Of course, this doesn’t always work, but in those cases it is usually a poorly made program, not the operating system itself that is at fault. If you search other websites for information about this, you’ll probably find tips about changing the value of “ForegroundLockTimeout” in the registry. This key was used in previous Windows versions, but is ignored in Vista. In other words, that registry key does nothing. If you are the curious type, you can try changing it (it won’t hurt anything, the key is just ignored) and you’ll notice your computers behavior doesn’t change at all.

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 maevie // Mar 21, 2010 at 4:32 AM

    Hi, not sure if I’m missing something fundamental about the layout of this site, but I can’t see where the actual guide for this is… Apart from saying that you won’t be telling people to edit the registry key, I can’t see what you suggest as a solution.

    I’ve been infuriated by this for years, and have so far been unable to find a solution for vista.

    Many thanks

  • 2 Ryan Adams // Mar 21, 2010 at 10:03 AM

    @maevie: Unfortunately the “solution” is that there isn’t one. As discussed in the article, Windows Vista does not have an option (even by way of editing the registry) that will prevent programs from stealing focus. I have heard of some third-party programs which claim to solve the problem, but none of them worked for me.